Fire alert

Major wildfires can release as much carbon as some states’ full fleet of vehicles, according to a new study in the online journal Carbon Balance and Management. Carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires are usually about 5 percent of the manmade total in the United States. But major recent fires in the West and Southeast showed that fire contributions to carbon emissions increased dramatically. The study reports, “A striking implication of very large wildfires is that a severe fire season lasting only one or two months can release as much carbon as the annual emissions from the entire transportation or energy sector of an individual state.”